Word Count 481
A Future Trip
by G. Ackman
So this is the future. Odd. It’s much quieter than I had believed it would be. Of course, this could change. So much depends on little actions. I have seen that before, although not often. I have found that humans are pretty predictable, actually.
Still, I think I kind of like this. For a city, it isn’t bad at all. Maybe it’s a holiday. No, even then, there would be noise – honking and sirens and well, people. People are so very noisy and always scurrying about, in a hurry to get nowhere of any importance.
But I see no movement at all. It’s very still. Not even a breeze. No birds cawing and chattering. No stray dogs dodging expected kicks. No leaves or garbage filling the gutters. My footsteps echo loudly against the dull gray sidewalk, bounce off the steel and glass buildings and return to me like my own heartbeat, rhythmic and solitary. I feel as if millions of eyes are watching me from behind the tinted glass, but I have no basis for knowing or even believing that they exist. It is not a comforting feeling and I continue to walk down the deserted street with a façade of purposefulness, glancing behind me every few minutes like a victim in a low budget mystery. Except it is daylight. The skies are an unbroken blue blanket and the sun’s white light reflects off the endless expanse of glass, nearly blinding me at times. Down Lake Shore Drive and around the still waters of Lake Michigan towards the aquarium and the museums – art, natural history, science. Man’s showcase of egotism. Look what I did. Look what I found. Look at me. Yeah, look at them now. Where are they? Gone.
I have now recognized that this is a future without life. The city itself is a museum to man’s folly. I wonder what happened? It doesn’t look like war. Disease? Maybe, but there are no bodies, no stench, no refuse. I have no clue what the year is and I have no clue if I will be staying here or suddenly jerked out of this time and deposited in another. I am a time traveler, you see. Not by choice but by birth. I have seen wondrous and frightening times, but this one, this one scares me more even than when I was in the Middle Ages. Brutal, senseless fighting. Torture and executions in the most hideous manner. Shrieking that pierced the eardrums but somehow became more painful when it suddenly stopped. That was bad. But this – this – this waste. Man had such potential and this is what it came down to. Nothing. A stretch of sidewalk, vendor carts with flagging signs, store windows filled with useless fripperies.
Nothing. Just the echoing footfalls of a lone time traveler, traversing a soon to be forgotten terrain that speaks of nothing but loss.